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Cruise Ship (9 August 2017)
Last month* we spent a day at the riverside at Greenwich, as the weather was warm and sunny*. The River Thames is generally the colour of weak coffee with a dash of milk, and on a grey day it is quite unattractive. But with the sun* shining, the surface sparkles with every wavelet, and the wakes of the boats are illuminated with brilliant white foam and splashes. The tide was coming in and where it laps onto the little corners of “beach”, the mud and silt are churned* up, creating swirls of light and dark brown. The “No Swimming” notices are certainly easy to obey and I often wonder why anyone would even entertain the thought of entering the water.
* Omission phrase "las(t) month"
* "sunny, sun" Insert the vowels in these and "snowy, snow"
* "churned" Keep the Chay well slanted, so it does not look like "turned" which has a similar meaning
* "Deptford" The P of the longhand is not sounded, although natives of the area may omit the T and say "Depford"
* "taxis" Helpful to insert the vowel inside the Ses circle
* Omission phrase "las(t)-minute"
* "At last" and "at least" Always insert the vowel
* "empty" Omits the lightly sounded P, therefore stroke M, not stroke Imp
* Omission phrase "wu(n)s again"
* "47,800" No need to write anything for the word "thousand" but if have already written in an Ith or the outline for "thousand", then leave a space before writing the 800, so it is obvious that it is not a numeral. This illustrates the benefit of being a little behind the speaker, to take advantage of the best way to write numerals and other phrases.
* "tonnes" "tons" "tuns" All pronounced the same, so it is up to your general knowledge to produce the correct longhand spelling in each case
* "staying" No diphone, as the "I" sound is included in the Dot Ing
* "gourmet" Intervening dash vowel in third place, struck through the end of the GR stroke
* "self-service" All outlines
beginning with "self-" are in second place, following the vowel of
* "whirlpool" Intervening dash vowel in third place, struck through the end of the PL stroke
* "salon" Insert the dash vowel in this and in "saloon" which have similar meanings
With What (20 August 2017)
* "extract" Insert the second vowel, and the last vowel in "extricate" as these are similar in meaning and outline
* "at all times" Halving for the T of "times"
* Omission phrases "more (and) more" "with wu(n) another" "I (h)ope you" "w(ith re)f(eren)ce (to) the" "with (re)gard (to) the"
* Omission phrase "mus(t) be able to" "much (m)ore"
* "start the" You could use "tick the" but it would not be entirely clear here, with the already halved Ray stroke, compare "started" in the next sentence to which it would look similar
* "question" Optional contraction
* "whenever" Normal contraction
were" "when we are" Same outline, you could insert the vowel in "were"
but generally not necessary as the context would make it clear
* Omission phrases "what has (h)appened" "what is (the) matter" "what mus(t) be" "we are very glad (to) s(ay) that"
* "what is called" On its own "called" is a short form
* "what it has" Clearer to write the "has" separately, although it could be phrased if wanted
* Omission phrase "would (have) been" It is quicker to join a straight stroke here than a curved one, and legible because the "have" is often shortened "woulda been"
* "would not have been" Helpful to insert the vowel in "not" so it is not misread as "never"
* Omission phrases "would (h)ope" "in (f)act" "in ord(er to"
* "I could" Not phrased, so it does not look like "I can"
* "part time" Note that "full time" halves the downward L of "full" + M
* Omission phrases "I mus(t) say" "in (con)clusion" "I would like (to) s(ay) that"
River Walk (26 August 2017)
We recently went on a day’s visit to see the river at Richmond. This town is the opposite end of London to where we live, and the river is younger, narrower and more pleasant than in the city and the Thames estuary. The day was sunny and mild but the forecast was rain by the beginning of the* afternoon. So we set out* reasonably early to make the most of the dry morning. The train goes from Waterloo Station on a circuit to Richmond and the other stations, ending up once again* at Waterloo. So it was quite novel to be sitting on a train leaving Waterloo, with the announcer’s voice telling us that we were on a train to that same station. At least we did know the reason, but it might have been a tad confusing for a visitor or tourist. On arrival we took a bus to the river bridge, so that we did not waste any of the few sunny hours walking down the long high street.
* "beginning of the" Stroke Gn for "beginning" can be intersected or written underneath, whichever is clearer
* "set out" Halving for "out"
* Omission phrase "wu(n)s again"
We took a short walk down the shady* side of the river, then back again and over the bridge towards the main town. We wanted to be on the sunny side of the river and going towards a small park, where we planned to eat our sandwiches on a warm seat watching the peaceful sparkling river flowing gently by. As we approached the park there were* spots of rain. By the time we got there, the rain was heavier and so we had to find a seat under a big tree. The drops and splats of water had no trouble finding a few openings between the branches and soon we were sitting in a row under several umbrellas, despite our hope that the tree would be our protective canopy. The rain collecting from the nearby paths began trickling over the muddy grass in a growing rivulet flowing down to the river’s edge. The surface of the Thames was now pitted and mottled with a covering of ripples from the raindrops. We saw several canal boats going along the river, some owners unconcerned by the rain and others sheltered from it*, as they were safely under cover in their cabins.
* "shady" Insert the last vowel, so it is not misread as "shaded"
* Omission phrase "there (w)ere"
* "from it" Halving for "it"
In the distance the sky was bright in patches, between the dark rainclouds. Quite quickly the weather cleared and we made our way back to the bridge in the dry, with warm breezes and even a bit more sun. We took a walk in the other direction as far as Richmond Lock. We ascended the lock stairs and crossed the river on high, looking down on the giant metal lock gates which are held aloft and which are tilted and lowered when required. This lock is used to control the water levels up river, to provide a stable environment by reducing the effect of the rise and fall of the tides in order to maintain a navigable depth of water at all times.
We crossed Richmond Bridge again, wandered into the busy town with its noisy traffic and made our way to the station. Once more* we got on a train coming from and going to Waterloo Station. We were soon settled in our comfortable seats, watching the downpour cascading off the train roof and seeing some flashes of lightning and cracks of thunder. The hurrying crowds and busy atmosphere on the main concourse were quite a contrast to the quiet river, and the green and pleasant surroundings of Richmond. The weather was clear again when we arrived at our station and we were once again in green and quiet surroundings. Once home, the last job of the day was to download all the photos, retracing all our steps and wanderings. Another successful jaunt to be relived via the photos, when the dark and cold of winter make going out and about less appealing. The river scene would be quite a picture in winter, with snow and ice, so perhaps that is one for the bucket list, but avoiding the slippery waterside edges, and including some time in the shops to warm up. (683 words)
* Omission phrase "wu(n)s more"
Postcards (30 August 2017)
I think it is* time for a change from the usual sets of short letters that I have been doing, which are intended to give short practice paragraphs with easy matter, that you can rehearse* intensively and so bring up your speed without the stress of a long passage. In other words*, if you fall behind, each passage soon comes to an end, giving you an opportunity to catch up. This time we have some postcards*, which suits the holiday season of August, although obviously no-one is going to need a shorthand writer* to help them produce such missives. You could* however write one in shorthand if you have a friend who can read it, and thus reinstate that perennial frustration for the postal* worker, namely the postcard that looks interesting but is not possible to read, unless they are nearing retirement and started working life in an office when shorthand was still common. The other point is that you can get so much more information on a postcard in shorthand, but you will need a sharp pencil to write the tiny outlines, and avoid ink, as it may be delivered in the rain. I find that biros can do thicks and thins, if you are not* having to go very fast and can be careful* with the tip control and pressure.
* "I think it is" Halving to represent "it"
* "rehearse" A long ascending outline, needs to be written shallowly, similarly "rehearsal" which is even longer
* "in other wo(rd)s" An alternative way to write "words" when it joins better in a phrase
* "postcards" "postal" Omit the lightly sounded T
* Omission phrase "short(hand) writer"
* "you could" Written separately, so it does not look like "you can"
* "you are not" This is always written with full strokes, in order to make a clear contrast with "you will not" which uses halving and N hook for the "not"
* "careful" Optional contraction
Dear Pam and family, We arrived safely Saturday night. It is just wonderful here, our hotel is simply fabulous and the view is out of this world, what with sunsets over the bay and the mountains. Tomorrow we are taking a boat trip and going to the sea life centre. The kids went wild with excitement when they saw some dolphins in the bay. Jack has found a great golf course, so the girls and I can go shopping one or two* days. I wish you could* see the malls here, they are amazing*. See you in two weeks*, we have some great photos and vids to show you. Maggie
* Omission phrases "one (or) two" "two wee(k)s"
* "you could" Written separately, so it does not look like "you can"
* "amazing" "amusing" Always insert the second vowel
Hi Tom, Just a line to let you know we are doing well here in the north. We are having a family break from work over August. We got a great deal on the hotel package, so there is money left in the pot for excursions etc. The food is very good and they have a wide range. You know how Johnnie loves his restaurant meals from time to time*. We are just sitting on the terrace with our wine and relaxing after seeing the sights in town. Hope all goes well with you next week*. Best regards, Jackie
* Omission phrase "from time (to) time" with halving used for both T's
* Omission phrase "ne(k)s(t w)eek"
Dear Mum, flight was good, and hotel is great. So glad we booked this one, the facilities are brilliant. We spent the whole of yesterday in the swimming pool and today we went up the hills to a vineyard*. Bought some local wine for you, you will love it, very sweet and fruity. The food is interesting and, yes, we are eating the healthy options, after having lost all that weight to get into our swimwear! Lots of love and see you next Friday. Betty and Co
* "vineya(r)d" An alternative to the short form for "yard" where it joins better
Dear Janet and John, Here we are in sunny Sandy Bay again. We love coming back here, it is so peaceful and quiet, especially where we are staying* a little way out of town away from the amusement parks. Our holiday house is very comfortable and has a lovely garden to sit in. The weather has been glorious, but we had rain for the whole of Monday, so we went into town and saw the museums. Hope all goes well with your meeting next week* and we can chat about it all very soon. Will phone you to get a date. Love from Mary and family
* "staying" No diphone, as the I sound is included in the Dot Ing
* Omission phrase "ne(k)s(t w)eek"
Dear Auntie Flo, I thought you would like to see this view of the city of Bath, as you have spent so much time here yourself when you were living in that old house. I am so glad I took your advice to come here for a holiday and I am having a wonderful time seeing all the places you mentioned. Do you think you will ever visit here again? It is just as you described, but the transport is much better nowadays. You would feel right at home. Give my regards to Uncle Henry. Love from Edward*
* "Edward" Using the suffix -wa(r)d, similarly "backward, forward, onward"
Hi James, How is it all going at the office? Yes, I am thinking of you all while I am lying here on a hot beach with my pineapple fruit cocktail, listening to the waves and seagulls. Never mind, you will be off on your cruise before long and I shall be thinking of you again but this time from my office desk. Going water-skiing tomorrow, then paragliding, then hot air ballooning, such a lot of hard work for me to do over the next week, but I am sure I will manage! I will post some photos* and videos* online for you quite soon, if I get the time with all these important things I have to do. Regards, Charlie
* "photos, videos" These are similar, so insert the diphone in "videos"
Dear Mother, I missed my train so when I did arrive here they took ages to open and let me in. I am in a rather small guest house room, reasonable and clean but would be better if they smartened it up. The food is OK but I prefer my usual home cooking. The view is OK I suppose, but it is lost in mist and rain at the moment*. It is too cold to go to the beach, too windy to go up the cliff walk and too boring to sit indoors doing nothing until the weather clears. I am going to go into town and get a shorthand pad and pencil so I can practise from the news on the radio. My exam is the week after next so I think it will be a doddle if the weather stays like this all week. At least* I don’t have to answer any phone calls or emails* from customers for seven* whole days. See you soon, love from your bedraggled son, William (1016 words)
* Omission phrase "at (the) moment"
* "at least" "at last" Always insert the second vowel
* "emails" Always insert the first vowel, as "email" and "mail" are similar
* "seven" Keep the N hook clear, as it is similar to the short form "several"
"Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things." (Philippians 4:8)
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